Can I get an Occupational Driver’s License?


An Occupational Driver’s License (ODL) authorizes someone with a suspended or revoked license to operate non-commercial vehicles for the purposes of attending school, work, church, life errands, etc.

If you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) you are not eligible for an ODL.

Section 521 of the Texas Transportation Code states that in order to receive an ODL, a person must demonstrate an “essential need”. It defines an essential need as:

• To perform their occupation or job
• For transportation to and from the workplace
• For transportation to and from school, or
• In the performance of an essential household duty

An ODL will be effective until the end of the driver’s license suspension period.

  • Immediately – if you’ve had no previous license suspensions for alcohol-related incidents in the past 5 years
  • 90 Days – if you have had a license suspension in the past 5 years for an alcohol related incident.
  • 6 Months – if you’ve been convicted of a DWI in the past 5 years.
  • 1 Year – if you have been convicted of two or more DWIs in the past 5 years.

According to Section 524 of the Texas Transportation Code, a minor under the age of 21 must wait the following periods before they are eligible for an ODL:

  • 30 days – if no previous alcohol related suspensions
  • 90 days – after the administrative license has been in effect if one prior alcohol-related conviction
  • If a minor has had two or more driver’s license suspensions, they are not eligible for an ODL.

Most everyone facing a DWI charge is released on bond. You can be released on a Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond, a Bail Bond through a bail bondsman, or an Attorney Bond.

When facing your first DWI charge, you typically are going to have very few requirements while your case is pending. You’ll be required to check in regularly, update contact information as it changes, and show up to court.

If, however, you are facing an enhanced DWI because of your BAC or otherwise, you will likely have additional, burdensome, expensive requirements.

If you have been charged with an enhanced DWI then you will likely be required to install an ignition interlock device on every vehicle you drive. Alternatively, you could be required to have a mobile device, like Smart Start Mobile, or Soberlink.

With an in-vehicle device, you are only required to give a specimen when operating the vehicle. So, to a certain degree, you have some control over when you give a specimen and when you don’t. The mobile devices, on the other hand, require scheduled blows daily.

Daily blow requirements can be an enormous inconvenience as well as a prime opportunity for you to mess up. A mistake can result in a violation. A violation, depending on your judge, can result in your bond being increased, which means you will be re-arrested, and or have additional, more stringent pre-trial conditions added, such as drug testing or the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) device.

Failure at the pre-trial level can negatively impact your pending criminal case outcome as well. Here’s a link to Bexar Co. Pre-Trial Services.

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